A recent five-day walk in Morocco opened my eyes to a vital modern incarnation of ancient mountain hospitality: local families providing shelter to strangers. This is the story of Jamal Ait Lachegar, who is quietly realizing the dream of home-stays for walkers as a form of cultural exchange and preservation. And the story of a man whose work is building towards a larger dream: perhaps a future “Berber Trail”, possibly operated as part of the nascent International Appalachian Trail.
The Wicklow Way, Co. Wicklow, Ireland: This was a two day trip over a small portion of the Wicklow Way, specifically Oldbridge to Glendalough to Glenmalure. A map of the entire 127km trail can be found here: http://www.wicklowway.com./ This website also offers useful information about accommodation, profiles of the villages along the route, trail services (such as baggage transfers,) and walking tips.
Amenities: The huts are basic, but comfortable. They have good cooking facilities, wood stove (which we didn’t need in August), nice areas for seating outside, and great outdoor settings.
Trip description: Four of us made the delightful 30 mile trek and thoroughly enjoyed hiking day after day at tree-line, circling around Mt. Sneffels though the woodlands and pastures. On the first two days we gathered lots of Chantrelle mushrooms, which enriched our risotto and other meals. We happened to be hiking in parallel with two couples, who were great company. The huts offer basic comfort, conviviality, and a chance to rest and recreate after a nice days walk.